From the beginning of an episode of Sons of Anarchy a few weeks back:
“It’s hard not to hate. People, things, institutions. They break your spirit and take pleasure in watching you bleed. Hate is the only thing that makes sense. But I know what hate does to a man: tears him apart, turns him into something he’s not — something he promised himself he’d never become. That’s what I need to tell you: [I want] to let you know how hard I’m trying not to cave under the weight of all the awful things I feel in my heart. Sometimes my life feels like a deadly balancing act, what I feel slamming up against what I should do. Impulsive reactions, racing to solutions, miles ahead of my brain When I look at my day, I realize that most of it was spent cleaning up the damage of the day before. In that life, I have no future. All I have is distraction and remorse. I buried my best friend three days ago, and as cliché as this sounds, I left a part of me in that box — a part I barely knew, a part I’ll never see again. Every day is a new box, boys. You open it, you take a look at what’s inside. You’re the one who determines if it’s a gift or a coffin.”
Such thoughts have been on my mind a lot recently. The better part of a decade in many respects I suppose. As I have witnessed not only the continuation, but the rise of hate in this nation.
Surely part of it was the dichotomy of it during the Bush (jr) years. Both the rise in anti-muslim and anti-immigrant feelings from the right, and the rise of hatred of the right from the left.
And while I think hate is one of the basest of human emotions- one to be avoided at all times (and one, as a line I once penned “Always remember this- what you hate in others is what you hate in yourself” ) it can be a hard one to avoid.
And we continue to see a rise. Hate based on the color of ones skin. Hate based on a persons religious beliefs. Hate based on where someone is from. Hate based on who someone chooses to love…
While I am not a religious person (though surely shaped, for better and worse, by being raised Catholic) I have studied the various major, and many minor religious texts, and history, extensively. And I find myself most often reverting to many of the teachings of both Buddha and Jesus. Those who preached love, understanding, acceptance, justice, brotherhood…. The idea that we are all deeply flawed. And that love, respect, and understanding of others is among the highest callings.
And of course it deeply disturbs me to see a rise in not only hate- but people like Paul Ryan and many of his Tea Party supprters who idolize Ayn Rand- and the belief that Sefishness is one of the highest human ideals that can be obtained. A belief that is wholly contradictory with that of their other proclaimed idol- Jesus. Whose ultimate act of selflessness- by their belief- allowing himself to be hung on the cross for mankinds sins is completely contradictory to their belief in selfishness.
As I’ve said on this blog countless times it is well past time for all sides to realize we are a deeply divided nation- and do what has america a great nation for so long. Put aside the belief that anyone has the answer. That they, and only they are right. And instead realize we all have pieces of the puzzle. Not a perfect system. Sometimes one side or the other might be more right. Just as often, if not more so- they may be more wrong. Our country is simply too large. Too populous. too diverse. And filled with people whose version of reality not only does not reflect that of the nation, but may not of even their communities. We have people who have never been 50 miles from their birthplace. And people who have been on every continent. People who live where everything is closed by 8pm, and peoples whose jobs start then. People who could not survive without their car. And people who can’t imagine needing one. People who have never seen a national park. Never seen an ocean. Never seen a factory. Never fired a gun. never seen a city. or never seen nothing of man as far as their eyes can see.
And yes, I am finding it hard not to hate. The haters at least. I am tired of the arrogance. OF those who insist not only that their religion is the one true god- but they *know* what he intended on every issue (despite little things like the numerous contradictions, or the fact the books of the bible were written by man over centuries, and then the books we now known were chosen by men, while others were discarded. Those that insist their interpretation of the constiutuion is correct (they of course never let their personal belief system cloud their judgement). Those that insist they know what the founding fathers intended on every issue. Or refuse to accept that they were shaped by their realities. That the country, and the world has changed more then they can forsee. And that as intelligent men they would be the first to admit the need to rethink how their ideals have suceeded, and failed in the intervening centuries…and reacess what is relevant given current realities.
And so…well…I’m not sure. I have thought, since the Reagan years, that I was watching the end of the nation known as The united States of America. And since the millenium the slide seems to be picking up speed. I have thought of leaving but probably won’t. I have the knowledge, the skill sets, and the resilience to survive just about anything. And I will always hope that the lessons I most took to heart from my catholic upbring- those of love, respect, understanding, tolerance, and caring for others above oneself may one day prevail again.
I’m hopeful. But not optimistic. and trying, really tring, not to fall to hate.